Herbs as nourishment offer the body a whole host of nutrients it may not have received either because of poor diet or environmental deficiencies in the soil or air. Herbs as medicine are essentially body balancers that work with the body functions so that it can heal and regulate itself. Herbs have been used for centuries as part of the wisdoms of natural healing methods.

There are specific food preparation techniques used to make foods more digestible and add variety to the diet, these include, sprouting seeds, grains, and beans, juicing fruits and vegetables, soaking nuts and dried fruit, and dehydrating food. Incorporating plant-based raw proteins from nuts, hemp, greens and other sources are also critical to the raw food lifestyle.
What do vegans eat? Raw vegans don’t consume any animal products whatsoever and very few cooked foods, which means this way of eating can be hard to keep up with and unattainable for many people. On top of that, there are plenty of nutrients available in animal foods and benefits to including some of them in your diet. For example, organ meats, like chicken liver or kidneys, are often called superfoods and are some of the most nutrient-dense foods there are, extremely high in things like vitamin A, B vitamins, phosphorus and iron.
Raw food diets are one of those eating plans that seems to have a perennial buzz—people always want to know if they should hitch their healthy-eating wagons to this way of life. This is especially true because celebrities like Tom Brady and noted beautiful person Gisele Bündchen follow an 80/20 raw diet (so, they eat raw 80 percent of the time and have cooked foods for the remaining 20 percent), making it even more intriguing.
“The raw food diet is based on the idea that the natural enzymes in raw foods are destroyed through the cooking process,” says Abbey Sharp, a Toronto-based dietitian and blogger at Abbey’s Kitchen. In theory, heat does indeed destroy many enzymes in food – i.e., chemicals that help us to digest and absorb our meals – along with some vitamins and phytonutrients.
Christopher Wanjek is the Bad Medicine columnist for Live Science and a health and science writer based near Washington, D.C.  He is the author of two health books, "Food at Work" (2005) and "Bad Medicine" (2003), and a comical science novel, "Hey Einstein" (2012). For Live Science, Christopher covers public health, nutrition and biology, and he occasionally opines with a great deal of healthy skepticism. His "Food at Work" book and project, commissioned by the U.N.'s International Labor Organization, concerns workers health, safety and productivity. Christopher has presented this book in more than 20 countries and has inspired the passage of laws to support worker meal programs in numerous countries. Christopher holds a Master of Health degree from Harvard School of Public Health and a degree in journalism from Temple University. He has two Twitter handles, @wanjek (for science) and @lostlenowriter (for jokes).
Thinking of becoming a “raw vegan” and wondering how this differs from a general raw food diet? The two have a lot in common, but eating a diet high in raw foods doesn’t necessarily mean you need to avoid all animal products, which vegans do. Some raw food diets include raw fish, raw dairy products, raw meats or eggs, and even some cooked animal foods too. Again, there isn’t an ideal percentage of cooked versus raw foods you should try to live up to. The goal is just to move your food intake to one that’s more natural, nutrient-dense and unprocessed.
The Primal Diet consists of fatty meats, organ meats, dairy, honey, minimal fruit and vegetable juices, and coconut products, all raw, whereas the "Raw, Paleolithic Diet",[7][9] is a raw version of the (cooked) Paleolithic Diet, incorporating large amounts of raw animal foods such as meats/organ-meats, seafood, eggs, and some raw plant-foods, but usually avoiding non-Paleo foods such as raw dairy, grains, and legumes.[7][8]
That being said, both should be viewed as just a few single components of a well-rounded, healthy and fat-burning diet. Incorporating a superfood or two into your meals or taking a multivitamin each day is unlikely to have much of an effect on your health if you’re not also consuming plenty of other nutrient-rich foods and following a healthy lifestyle.
The raw food diet has been around since at least the late 1800s, according to the New York Academy of Medicine, when Swiss nutritionist and physician Maximilian Bircher-Benner advocated for it. His book, The Prevention of Incurable Disease, recommended eating 50 percent raw veggies, fruits, seeds, and nuts, and the rest “conservatively cooked” veggies, eggs, meats, and whole grain breads.
Hello, hydration. Watermelon, which gets its pretty color from the antioxidant lycopene, is a juicy, delicious way to make sure you’re staying hydrated—a key factor in weight loss for various reasons. When you’re drinking enough water, all your systems (including your metabolism) are better able to work at their maximum capacity, Shawn Talbott, Ph.D., a nutritional biochemist, told SELF in a previous article. Plus, proper hydration prevents you from confusing thirst for hunger, which can lead you to overeat throughout the day. And don’t buy into the hype about watermelon being a calorie bomb—1 cup only contains 46 calories.
Imagine a superfood -- not a drug -- powerful enough to help you lower your cholesterol, reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer, and, for an added bonus, put you in a better mood. Did we mention that there are no side effects? You'd surely stock up on a lifetime supply. Guess what? These life-altering superfoods are available right now in your local supermarket.
The main benefit of the raw food diet is that it cuts down on processed foods and gets you eating way more fruits and veggies that are rich in disease-fighting antioxidants and phytonutrients. “Getting more plant foods in your diet can help reduce the risk of any condition linked to inflammation,” says Fouroutan, including cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
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Native to Mexico, these nutrient-rich seeds, known for sprouting green “fur” on kitschy pottery pets, have become all the rage among superfood seekers. And it’s no surprise—chia seeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and calcium.  “If you’re not someone who eats a lot of fish, they’re a great way to get plant-based omega-3s in your diet,” says Blatner. “They have an awesome taste, crunch, and nutty flavor. I keep them in a glass shaker in the refrigerator at eye level so I can easily find them and shake them on my oatmeal, smoothies, salads, or stir-fries.” 

Grown in the Andes, maca is a root vegetable that is picked, dried, and processed into a powder. Although reports of its health benefits are mixed, maca has been used to boost energy, endurance, and libido. “It’s also what’s called an adaptogen, which means that it can undo damage from fatigue and helps with regeneration and repair,” says Bellatti. With its rich earthy flavor and nutty taste, maca powder can be incorporated into baked items and smoothies or just sprinkled over cereal.

There are specific food preparation techniques used to make foods more digestible and add variety to the diet, these include, sprouting seeds, grains, and beans, juicing fruits and vegetables, soaking nuts and dried fruit, and dehydrating food. Incorporating plant-based raw proteins from nuts, hemp, greens and other sources are also critical to the raw food lifestyle.
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Why it's super: Move over spinach, you've got some fierce competition. Kale contains a type of phytonutrient that appears to lessen the occurrence of a wide variety of cancers, including breast and ovarian. Though scientists are still studying why this happens, they believe the phytonutrients in kale trigger the liver to produce enzymes that neutralize potentially cancer-causing substances.


Anything that is cooked or heated above 118 degrees, as mentioned before, is strictly off-limits. That means you have to avoid most stuff that’s heated in your oven or microwave as well as all processed foods. A few not-so-intuitive foods that are off the menu include table salt, pasta, and pasteurized juice (since pasteurization involves heating foods to kill bacteria).
14. Eggs A relatively inexpensive protein source loaded with nutrients, eggs certainly earn their superfood status. A single large egg is just about 70 calories and offers six grams of protein. Eggs are also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for normal body function and heart health Health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. Ruxton, C. Nursing Standard. 2004 Aug 11-17;18(48):38-42..

As of 2007, the marketing of products as superfoods was prohibited in the European Union unless accompanied by a specific authorized health claim supported by credible scientific research.[7] The ruling was a marketing guide issued to manufacturers to assure scientific proof or evidence why a food would be labeled as extra healthy or classified as a superfood.[7] The European Food Information Council stated that it was impractical for people to have a diet based only on superfoods when nutrients are provided readily from a diet based on a diversity of foods, especially a diet including fruits and vegetables.[1]
Cooking foods with antioxidants called beta-carotene and lycopene (like squash, sweet potatoes and tomatoes, for example) helps release their nutrients and make them more absorbable, plus it makes them taste a lot better too! (9) Cooking is also useful for killing bacteria and pathogens that can live in some foods, like certain fish or eggs and meat.
Regret dumping that extra teaspoon of sugar into your overnight oats? Undoing the damage can be as simple as sprinkling some cinnamon in! This warm spice may help reduce high blood sugar levels associated with sugar consumption as well as prevent pesky insulin spikes. One study even found that the oatmeal topper can help reduce your risk for diabetes and heart disease.
Probiotics supplied by fermented foods, which are “good bacteria” that reside in your gut, are responsible for nutrient absorption and supporting your immune system. They help you to repopulate your gut with beneficial microbiota after you’ve begun the process of clearing away built-up toxins and waste. Probiotic foods encourage a healthy microbiome, are great for your digestive system, improve immunity, help clear up your skin, and are even beneficial for maintaining hormonal balance and a healthy weight.
Antioxidants found in many superfoods may help prevent cancer, while healthy fats can reduce your risk of heart disease. Fiber, which is also found in many superfoods, can help prevent diabetes and digestive problems while phytochemicals have numerous health benefits including reducing your risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Superfoods are also known to protect your organs from toxins, help lower cholesterol, regulate metabolism and reduce inflammation.

22. Garlic Yes, it might leave breath less-than-desirable, but these cloves can do more than flavor— they've been used for centuries as food and medicine. These days, garlic is used to treat anything from high blood pressure and heart disease to certain types of cancer. Plus, studies suggest garlic extract can be used to treat yeast infections in women and prostate issues in men Antifungal effect in selected natural compounds and probiotics and their possible use in prophylaxis of vulvovaginitis. Hronek, M., Vachtlová, D., Kudlácková, Z., et al. Katedra biologických a lékarských vĕd Farmaceutické fakulty v Hradci Králové, LF UK, Praha. Ceska Gynekologie, 2005 Sep;70(5):395-9. Onion and garlic intake and the odds of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Galeone, C., Pelucchi, C., Talamini, R., et al. Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri, Milan, Italy. Urology, 2007 Oct;70(4):672-6..
23. Cauliflower While all the vitamins and minerals are a great bonus, the real star here is cauliflower's cancer-fighting compounds, glucosinolates. These phytochemicals are responsible for cauliflower's sometimes-bitter flavor, but they have also been shown to prevent damage to the lugs and stomach by carcinogens, potentially protecting agiainst those cancers Chemoprevention of tobacco-related lung cancer by cruciferous vegetable. Balcerek, M. Katedra i Zakład Farmakognozji, Collegium Medicum UMK w Bydgoszczy, Poland. Przeglad Lekarski, 2007;64(10):903-5. Effects of cruciferous vegetable consumption on urinary metabolites of the tobacco-specific lung carcinogen 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone in singapore chinese. Hecht, S.S., Carmella, S.G., Kenney, P.M., et al. University of Minnesota Cancer Center, Minneapolis, MN. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, 2004 Jun;13(6):997-1004. Effects of cruciferous vegetables and their constituents on drug metabolizing enzymes involved in the bioactivation of DNA-reactive dietary carcinogens. Steinkellner, H., Rabot, S., Freywald, C., et al. Institute of Cancer Research, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria. Mutation Research, 2001 Sep 1;480-481:285-97.. And thanks to interactions with estrogen, cauliflower may also help prevent hormone-driven cancers like breast, uterine, and cervical Indole-3-carbinol is a negative regulator of estrogen. Auborn, K.J., Fan, S., Rosen, E.M., et al. North Shore-Long Island Jewish Research Institute, Manhasset, NY. The Journal of Nutrition, 2003 Jul;133(7 Suppl):2470S-2475S.. 24. Leeks Leeks owe many of their anti-cancer superpowers to their organosulphur compounds. These nutrients have been credited with everything from kicking cancer to boosting immunity Composition and properties of biologically active pectic polysaccharides from leek (Allium porrum). Kratchanova, M., Nikolova, M., Pavlova, E., et al. Institute of Organic Chemistry with Center of Phytochemistry, Laboratory of Biologically Active Substances, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, 4000 Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 2010 Sep;90(12):2046-51.. Studies also suggest leeks could help protect the digestive system from stomach and gastric cancers Consumption of large amounts of Allium vegetables reduces risk for gastric cancer in a meta-analysis. Zhou, Y., Zhuang, W., Hu, W., et al. Department of Gastrointestinal Surgery, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China. Gastroenterology, 2011 Jul;141(1):80-9. Allium vegetables and stomach cancer risk in China. Setiawan, V.W., Yu, G.P., Lu, Q.Y., et al. Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Los Angeles, CA. Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, 2005 Jul-Sep;6(3):387-95..

When you're eating a fully raw or even partially raw diet, à la Brady and Bündchen, that means you're taking in mostly plants. When you're focusing less on things like dairy, tofu, eggs, fish, and meat, you naturally have more space in your diet for fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. “Typically, it is also a low-sodium diet and free from added sugars, preservatives, and unhealthy additives,” Sonya Angelone, R.D.N., a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, told SELF when discussing Brady and Bündchen's diet. She adds that raw diets are consistently high in the superpower nutrient fiber, which most Americans actually don't get enough of. Fiber bulks up as it digests, meaning it helps keep you fuller longer, which can help you make healthy eating decisions throughout the day.

12. Spinach Antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and vitamins that promote vision and bone health are what make this little ol' green so super Galactolipids as potential health promoting compounds in vegetable foods. Christensen, L. P. Institute of Chemical Engineering, Biotechnology and Environmental Technology, Faculty of Engineering, University of Southern Denmark, Odense M, Denmark. Recent patents on food, nutrition and agriculture 2009; 1(1): 50-58. Impact of eating habits on macular pathology assessed by macular pigment optical density measure. Cohen SY, Mauget-Faysse M, Oubraham H, Algan M, Conrath J, Roquet W. Centre Ophtalmologique d’Imagerie et de Laser, Paris, France. Journal français d’opthalmologie 2010; 33(4): 234-240. Daily intake of green and yellow vegetables is effective for maintaining bone mass in young women. Fujii, H., Noda, T., Sairenchi, T., Muto, T. Department of Public Health, Dokkyo Medical University School of Medicine, Shimotsuga, Tochigi, Japan. The Tohuko Journal of Experimental Medicine 2009; 218(2): 149-54.. And those bones will be thanking spinach, too! Just one cup of the stuff packs up to 12 percent of the recommended daily dose of calcium and enough vitamin K to help prevent bone loss Daily intake of green and yellow vegetables is effective for maintaining bone mass in young women. Fujii, H., Noda, T., Sairenchi, T., Muto, T. Department of Public Health, Dokkyo Medical University School of Medicine, Shimotsuga, Tochigi, Japan. The Tohuko Journal of Experimental Medicine 2009; 218(2): 149-54..


Why it's super: Move over spinach, you've got some fierce competition. Kale contains a type of phytonutrient that appears to lessen the occurrence of a wide variety of cancers, including breast and ovarian. Though scientists are still studying why this happens, they believe the phytonutrients in kale trigger the liver to produce enzymes that neutralize potentially cancer-causing substances.
Many vegetables in the cruciferous family such as kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, mustard greens and brussel sprouts contain what are known as goitrogens. Goitrogens are naturally occurring compounds in some foods that may block thyroid function and can eventually lead to goiter and hypothyroidism. For people with an already weakened thyroid function, or for those who have a propensity to thyroid disorders, goitrogens can worsen the ability of your thyroid to produce important hormones. Goitrogens can be deactivated by heat. So, cooking your vegetables can deactivate a good amount of goitrogens.

If you have a sensitive digestive system, such as inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis, cooking more of your food might be a better option. If we’re unable to digest the vitamins and minerals in foods, we risk nutrient deficiencies and other illnesses. This can happen when we can’t break down fibrous vegetable cell walls to unleash stored nutrients, so in some cases cooking with low to medium heat can help predigest fibers for us and release more essential vitamins and minerals. (10)
Despite their relation to marijuana, hemp seeds contain virtually no trace of the psychoactive ingredient in their controversial cousin. The seeds are high in protein and contain all the essential amino acids needed for growth and repair. Hemp seeds also have a desirable ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids and are a good source of amino acids, magnesium, and potassium. “They have a very mild taste, so you could add them to soups, salads, pilafs, or pesto,” says Bellatti.

That's a lot of heavy lifting. And, of course, no one food can do it all. The occasional kale salad can't mask an otherwise crummy diet. Blueberries sprinkled over a bowl of SugarDoodle Snax ain't so super. A more winning approach is to combine nutrient density with nutrient diversity and eat a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, along with whole grains, lean proteins (including nuts and seeds), and healthy fats (like olive oil). Eating a variety of whole foods ensures that you get the full range of nutrients your body needs, including fiber, potassium, calcium, essential fatty acids, and so on.


14. Eggs A relatively inexpensive protein source loaded with nutrients, eggs certainly earn their superfood status. A single large egg is just about 70 calories and offers six grams of protein. Eggs are also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for normal body function and heart health Health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. Ruxton, C. Nursing Standard. 2004 Aug 11-17;18(48):38-42..
^ Jump up to: a b Yoshida, H; Matsuo, M; Miyoshi, T; Uchino, K; Nakaguchi, H; Fukumoto, T; Teranaka, Y; Tanaka, T (2007). "An outbreak of cryptosporidiosis suspected to be related to contaminated food, October 2006, Sakai City, Japan". Japanese Journal of Infectious Diseases. 60 (6): 405–7. PMID 18032847. Archived from the original on 2012-02-14. Retrieved 2014-02-08.
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